Friday, October 31, 2014

Momma Status

Hi Little Momma,
        I hope this Friday find’s you well! Today I am going to reflect on what it means to me to have achieved Momma Status, and how this  journey to motherhood (that actually began 14 years ago) impacts even the tiniest of my Little Momma Moments.



(If this were a movie, the picture would now change to a less saturated version of its original state, and all the actors would be transformed into late 90’s/early millennium fashion. We would be picking up in the year 2000.) 
 
        You see, when I was 15 years old I found myself in several doctor’s offices eventually resulting in a brand-new diagnosis, Multiple Sclerosis. I was actually the youngest with this diagnoses my doctors had ever seen! (Don’t worry, we can chat more on that in another post.) So, when it came to treatment, my parents left it up to me to make the decision on whether or not I would take the relatively new preventative medication designed to slow down the progress of the illness. For a whole year I weighed the pros and cons of treatment. And when I was 16 I finally decided to begin a medication plan. My mind was made up when I started to consider my future children. I thought about how I would feel if my children wanted to run with their mother and I was wheel chair bound or, of the far worse possibility, that my children would have a mother who was blinded and could never know what they looked like. While I knew in the end of the day it would be the disease that would be to blame in these situations, I also knew how devastated and guilty I would feel knowing I had an option to try and stop the MS from getting that bad and didn’t take it. The moment this became real, was the moment my life became about my future children. I would from that point forward try to make all decisions, medical or not, by considering the impact my choices might have on their wellbeing. I began to live not only as a teenager, but as a future mom.

        Two years later I would meet a boy who would one day become my husband and father of my child. (Don’t worry; this too we can chat more about in another post.) We met at our church’s youth group and quickly became somewhat enamored with each other. (Okay, I may be blushing at this very moment.) We dated for over three years before we hit a slight bump in the road. You see, we had always thrived off of honesty, so I was very clear about having a desire to not only one day parent, but to do so as a stay-at-home-mom. He had known this all along, but as he faced college, and their desire for him to declare a major… a problem arose. You see my husband was then, and is now a musician. He was in serious contemplation about choosing music as his major. As we discussed the need to declare, we made a painful decision. We broke up. You see it was my dream to be a stay-at-home-mom, and it was his dream to pursue music. We both understood that these two lifestyles would have difficulty becoming compatible. So we split. It was devastating. I almost whished I’d hated him, to make it more manageable. But a break up based on logic instead of emotion was very challenging to process because I still loved him. But after several weeks of blasting Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You Were Gone” and crying in my bedroom, I received a phone call that would end my sorrow. Branden asked me to dinner! That evening, he brought a paper from his school showing he had declared the sciences as his major. He explained that as much as he wanted music to be a significant part of his life, he wanted to be a daddy. Furthermore he wanted to be a daddy to children who had me as their stay-at-home-mom! Though there were more than a couple buckets of tears, this was the best way for things to play out. It was clear that it would not have been healthy for our relationship if I had asked him to walk away from music, nor would it have been healthy for him to ask me to walk away from my dream. He made the decision on his own, saving our relationship from potentially a lifetime of bitterness.

        Another three years would pass, and we would become husband and wife. As a couple we decided when we would like to expand our family and we laid out a plan; a plan that would have as many ups and downs as the world’s longest roller coaster. (Again, don’t worry; we will certainly chat about that in another post.) But when we saw that beautiful little pink plus sign, our world forever changed! WE WERE PREGNANT!

(If this were a movie, the picture would now change to a fully saturated version like its original state, and all the actors would be transformed into modern day fashion. We would be picking back up in the year 2014) 

        This brings me to the highlight of this post and the name sake of this blog! I had made it! I now had Momma Status! I was gifted the incredible opportunity to have the little momma moments I had dreamed of! After 14 years of dreaming about them, my dreams were coming true! God had brought Little B into this world through my own body, a fact that still leaves me in awe! I am called momma, and my heart overflows with delight!

        Some of these little momma moments I anticipated to take my breath away, like kissing her for the very first time! While others were much more surprising, like my sense of joy I feel at the presence of the typically despised stretch marks. Yeah, I definitely NEVER expected that one! But it is true. I think they serve as a permanent reminder of the incredible privilege I was given to participate in God’s beautiful creation of life.

        I love these moments, and I love intentionally looking for them in my day to day life. It has become a bit like the recent social media trend of “100 happy days,” where social media users intentionally identified one thing in each day that brought them happiness. So please indulge me as I share just a few of the little momma moments I’ve treasured in this life as Little B’s, Little Momma.

·         The first time she wrapped her tiny little hand around my finger. – And to make the moment even more incredible she grabbed her daddy’s finger with her other hand!
 

·         Baby’s first bath, followed by baby’s first massage!- Bonding and relaxation.
 

·         Staring at the dimples on her cheeks and hands, and tiny little toes!

·         Calling the pediatrician to make the first appointment for my daughter. -  Talk about taking your breath away. I seriously now have a daughter, a DAUGHTER!

·         My baby girl falling asleep on my chest in the froggie position. – There is nothing sweeter.
 

·         That face she makes as she is waking up. - It makes me smile every time!
 
 
 ·        The moment she nurses without a tear. - Breastfeeding is certainly a learning process, but when she and I both got the routine down, that was a magical moment indeed.

·         The first photo shoot as a family of 3! - As a photographer it was an epic moment to be having newborn pictures taken of MY little warrior.
 

·         Her first audible giggle! - Daddy has a way of making this girl laugh! Silly Daddy!

·         First time in the spa. - A California baby must! (Don’t worry the water temp was baby appropriate J)
 

·         First time at the park.- One of many trips this little lady will have.

 

·         An invitation to, and the attendance of a local Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group. – I mean WOW, just WOW. The exclusivity of membership to these groups was now attainable, because I had Momma Status!

·         Then there is Baby wearing. - This one surprisingly brought me to tears. The gravity of the intimate bonding between mommy and daughter while taking a walk with my little girl in the baby carrier simply overtook me!
 
 
 
 
·         Watching the two most important people in my life bond! - Is there anything more endearing than your husband holding his baby girl! *Swoon* And then him serenading her as she falls asleep. *I die*
 
 
        Clearly this list can go on and on and on, but I think I have made my point. There is joy in even the smallest of moments if you open yourself up for them. I encourage all of you to smile at each of your little momma moments, and maybe even share a few in the comments!

Love,
Little Momma, April Faith

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Battle of the Baby Carriers; Ergobaby Vs. BECO

Good Morning Little Momma,
        Let's go back to about four months ago. We're in my sister-in-laws living room, and as she is nursing her two month old daughter, I start chatting with her as I tap my finger tips on my seven months pregnant belly. We were having some little momma moments while my 3 year old niece was running circles around my husband in the next room. And this is where the conversation began. WHICH BABY CARRIER WAS THE BEST ON THE MARKET? She had just been gifted an Ergobaby which was leading in popularity, as far as we could tell, and I was trying to do some hands-on research with all of my friends’ and family’s carriers to decide which one I wanted to register for.  So once my tiny niece was nice and full we both took turns marching her around the house in the Ergobaby.

        Fast forward two months and this time my sister-in-law was now in my living room and as I was nursing my two week old, she rocked her four month old and my 3 year old niece was running circles around my husband in the next room. :) By this time, I had just received a very generous gift from a CBS T.V. show, The Talk which included a BECO carrier. So once my tiny daughter was nice and full we both took turns marching her around the apartment in the BECO. Talk about déjà vu!  So what did we decide? Which of these carriers was superior? Was it Ergobaby or BECO? Well let's just see how this “Battle of the Baby Carriers” plays out. What I can tell you, is the results were absolutely unanimous!

 
BENEFITS of BABY WEARING
        Before we get into the specifics of each of the lines, let’s chat about the benefits of baby wearing. This image from the BECO website represents 7 advantages to baby wearing.  

 
  • Baby Wearing allows mom to be hand’s free.
  • It also facilitates healthy attachment.
  • Wearing  a baby allows flexibility to travel places your stroller may not suffice. (This reminds me of a picture a friend of mine recently posted on Facebook of her and her momma friends hiking up a Hawaiian trail.  In this photo all 8 of the children were being worn in baby carriers. In the comments of the photo she specifically talked about strollers not being fit for the trail. Just think of the beautiful sights these children may have missed if it were not for baby carriers.)
  • A baby carrier lifts the baby close enough for kisses, opposed to being much lower in a stroller.
  • Baby wearing has been shown to reduces crying .(As if I weren’t already sold, they’ve got me now.)
  • In some ways baby wearing simulates the womb.
  • And finally they make some good points on how baby wearing can encourage the child’s mental Development. (This is one of my favorite parts. I find myself explaining everything from the sights to the smells of anything in Little B’s line of sight. While I intentionally try to do this while she is a stroller as well, I have to admit baby wearing makes it much more fun as we are seeing everything from the same point of view. These interactions also increase her exposure to new words, and  we all know how important vocabulary is!)
(*The ergonomic benefits explained in this image specifically address a BECO benefit. While the Ergobaby
brand shares this benefit, it is important to note that not all carriers on the market share this quality.)


The Ergobaby website adds to this list of benefits by pointing out:
  • Baby carriers are clearly more compact than strollers, therefore making traveling easier, and
  • Baby wearing leads to calmer babies who snooze more.
Now that the benefits are established, let’s get into the comparisons!

COMPARISON
(Please note these comparisons are made between the similar options in both brands. Ergobaby offers Organic and Designer lines which appear to be very similar to the Original line except for they have slight variations in price. They also have a Performance line, which is not addressed in this chart as BECO does not have similar one to compare.)

 
BECO
Ergobaby
BECO
Ergobaby
Gemini
4 Position 360
Soleil
Original
Carry Positions
4 Carry Positions:
Front carry facing in, Front carry facing out, back carry and hip carry
4 Carry Positions:
Front carry facing in, Front carry facing out, back carry and hip carry
3 Carry Positions:
Front carry facing in, Back carry and hip carry
3 Carry Positions:
Front carry facing in, Back carry and hip carry
Weight Capacity
7-35 lbs
7*-26.9 lbs
(*with infant insert)
7*-45 lbs
(*with infant insert)
7*-45 lbs
(*with infant insert)
Carrying Newborn
Yes
Yes*
(*with infant insert)
Yes*
(*with infant insert)
Yes*
(*with infant insert)
Storage
None
None
Expandable built-in waist pocket & built in key ring.
Large zippered storage pocket
Shoulder straps
Padded shoulder strap that can be worn criss-cross on back, or straight like a backpack
Padded shoulder straps that are worn straight like a back pack. Equipped with chest strap.
Padded shoulder strap that can be worn criss-cross on back, or straight like a backpack
Padded shoulder straps that are worn straight like a back pack. Equipped with chest strap.
Ergonomic Seat
(Thus decreasing
the chances of
Hip Dysplasia.)
Yes.
Adjustable ergonomic seat from wide base to narrow base to transfer baby’s weight efficiently between carry positions
Yes.
Adjustable ergonomic seat from wide base to narrow base to transfer baby’s weight efficiently between carry positions.
Keeps babies knees even to or above hips, with baby’s spine in curved “c” position.
Yes.
Wide darted seat more comfy for older toddlers, ensures your baby in proper “M” position
Yes.
Cradles baby in a natural siting position with the wide, deep seat.
 
 
Head Support
Built –in padded foldable headrest that adjusts to baby’s needs
Sleeping hood supports baby’s head while sleeping, plus adds protection from sun and privacy while nursing.
Built-in padded headrest with ability to attach Soleil hood.
Sleeping hood supports baby’s head while sleeping, plus adds protection from sun and privacy while nursing.
Baby Comfort
Richly padded leg supports for growing baby
Extendable back panel can be adjusted depending on position to provide extra head neck, and back support for baby.
Richly padded leg supports for growing baby
Infant insert provides a padded back panel to support curve in baby’s spine. This support can be used after removing pillow for larger or taller babies who still need the head and neck suport
Parent Comfort
Distributes baby’s weight evenly across hips & shoulders
Distributes baby’s weight evenly across hips & shoulders Baby’s weight leans towards parent’s center of gravity making her/him feel lighter.
 
Distributes baby’s weight evenly across hips & shoulders
Distributes baby’s weight evenly across hips & shoulders
Breastfeeding in Carrier
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Wear while Pregnant
Yes
(Check with doctor
before wearing)
NO INFORMATION AVAILABLE.
Yes
(Check with doctor
before wearing)
Yes; in hip and back carry positions
(Check with doctor
before wearing)
Parent’s Fit
Waist: 27”-59”
Shoulder Straps: 23”-45”
Fit’s adults from 5’ to 6’5 in height
NO INFORMATION AVAILABLE.
Waist: 27”-59”
Shoulder Straps: 18”-45”
Fit’s adults from 5’ to 6’5 in height
Waist: 26”-55”
Shoulder Straps: 24”-44”
 
Machine Washable
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Price
$130 - $140 + tax + S&H
$160.00 + tax + S&H
 
Infant Insert
$25-$38
$140+tax +S&H
 
Infant Insert
$25
$115-120 + tax + S&H
 
Infant Insert
$25-$38

        On paper the options are fairly identical. One thing I find particular interesting is Ergobaby’s newest carrier, the 360, is incredibly similar to BECO’s first carrier, the Gemini. Likewise, BECO’s newest carrier, the Soleil, is incredibly similar to Ergobaby’s first carrier, the Original. If you opt to go with a four position carrier, you can save up to $68 by going with BECO because the Gemini does not require an infant insert. If you opt for a three position carrier you can save up to $25 by going with Ergobaby. Another noteworthy comparison is that you have to prioritize what is more important to you: the fourth position of front carry facing out or the storage, because in both brands one is sacrificed for the other.

TIE BREAKER…
        It is now time to weigh in the information gleamed from my hands-on testing. First of all, I would say that the BECO carrier is much softer than the Ergobaby. This was abundantly clear when I tried to sit-down while still carrying the little ones. The rigidness of the Ergobaby meant it was not nearly as comfortable to wear while sitting. Also the angle of the BECO shoulder straps feels more comfortable than the Ergobaby straps. As a woman with some back troubles, I greatly appreciate the criss-cross shoulder strap position with the BECO. It is true that crossing the straps while putting on the BECO, felt a bit more clumsy than the straight position offered by both brands, I still felt it distributed the weight of the little ones more efficiently. All this said, it was a close call, but…

THE WINNER IS
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

        In fact my Sister-in-law loved my BECO so much, she even returned her Ergobaby at a loss in order to purchase a used BECO! I personally opted for the Gemini because I like the idea of showing Little B the world on our many fun walks to come. We have to wait until she no longer depends on assisted neck support, but in a few months she will be able to interact with her environment while being worn! Yay, Congrats BECO!!!

Love,
Little Momma, April Faith

Friday, October 24, 2014

All About Little Momma Moments

Welcome Little Momma!

        My name is April Faith and I have to tell you, I am so very humbled to have you here investing your time in this moment. What I wish to communicate through this blog is that today I am called Momma. That’s right, MOMMA! The magnitude of that privilege is not lost on me, as our journey into parenthood was quite turbulent. But today I am Little B’s, Little momma. This miraculous warrior child has been prayed for, waited for, and now she is home!

 
I married my high school sweet heart six years, to the day, after beginning our relationship and we became parents about six years after that. Those first six years of marriage included years of infertility, several failed fertility treatments, and huge steps towards an adoption, when God and this warrior child decided it was time for Little B to miraculously join our family through a pregnancy my doctors feared would never happen. Living through these experiences has given me significant insight into pregnancy, adoption, and infertility. This knowledge base will fuel many of my posts on prenatal topics.

 
While every day I am learning more about how to be the mom I desire to be, I have found that both my education and employment history have provided me a valuable foundation for my parenting as well as my blogging. In addition to possessing the California Child Development Site Supervisor Permit, I have two bachelor’s degrees, one in Human development with an emphasis on child development and a second in Psychology. I have extensive career and volunteer experience working with youth 0-18 years of age. In fact the bulk of my workforce experience, prior to becoming the stay-at-home mom I am today, was running a teen parenting program. In that role it was my honor to lead the teenage parents, whom took my parenting lab, in developmentally appropriate child care practices through example and individual direction. In addition to this leadership, I ultimately had the responsibility and joy of offering constant care for the infants and toddlers enrolled in the program.

 
My goal for this blog is to write a Review or Response piece approximately every other Wednesday. This is where I will either review a product or respond to another article which is pertinent to your Little Momma Moments! Then on Fridays I will write a Reflection piece on the Little Momma Moments I experience on this journey of parenting my miraculous warrior child, Little B.  Finally, I will post a monthly Research article, on the first Monday of every month. I will offer detailed information on a parenting topic that will support Little Momma Moments! In addition to this plan, I may occasionally post bonus pieces, which is good reason to subscribe through e-mail and like Little Momma Moments on Facebook so you don’t miss a thing.

My ultimate dream for this blog is that it will become a place we can connect on both our similarities and differences in how we entered parenthood and how we parent. I hope that we both learn something from each other as we engage here on the blog and on social media. In addition to Facebook I also expect to be most active on Pinterest and Instagram so please be sure to follow Little Momma Moments on those outlets as well.

Love,
Little Momma, April Faith